Organic beets in my garden grow quickly in the spring about 50 days from seeding. Beets are a garden fresh item, signaling the gardening season is well underway. I grew up disliking beets and remember years of watching my mother prepare them for my father who loved them. He craved them on the side with a good steak or baked chicken and mixed in with salads. For some inexplicable reason, I would not touch them. While I was not a finicky eater, I was a holdout on beets until I had red flannel hash one morning and realized how short sighted I had been for so many years. I now have jars of pickled beets for the winter and love to eat them year round. In fact, set a bowl of borscht(Beet Soup) with a nob of sour cream in front of me and I’m a happy camper.
Benefits of the Beet
Beets are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium and copper. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6. Beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide—a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, turning them into superhighways for nutrient and oxygen rich blood which means better circulation and possibly lower blood pressure. This can result in increased blood flow to your frontal lobe of your brain, which is the center for executive functioning skills like focus, organization, and attention to detail.
Bottom line, beets are really good for you and are considered a superfood. If you haven’t tried them, you should start. I can’t get enough of them now and wish I had enjoyed them as a child when my mother prepared fresh beets several times a week. Turns out my parents were right about somethings after all.
A Few Things To Consider
This salad is a take on a classic Salad Tulipe (poached pear, goat cheese, toasted candied walnuts) and can be made ahead with all the ingredients except the Arugula. Keep this dish in the fridge to chill, and pull it out on a summer day. It is refreshing and the flavor profile is simply delicious. The orange segments and pistachios match perfectly with the beets.
If you chose to use Greek style yogurt, draining overnight is not necessary since it has already been strained. Caramelizing the yogurt adds a tasty, subtle touch, however if you don’t have time to do this you can just spread it out as-is. The yogurt adds richness and mixes well with the other ingredients.
You may purchase the orange segments already done at the grocery store if you are lucky enough to live in an area where this is available. The Costco in my area also offers pre-peeled, trimmed organic baby red beets, so this salad can be made on the fly. This recipe makes enough for eight, though you can make smaller amounts by dividing the recipe evenly by two or four.
Organic Garden Beet Salad with Caramelized Yogurt
- 32 Beets, organic small 16 red 16 yellow peeled and trimmed (Larger beets can be substituted if baby beets are not available)
- 2 tbsp Oil, canola or any neutral tasting salad oil
- 2 tbsp Vinegar, white
- 1/4 tsp Salt, kosher
- 1/4 tsp Pepper, black
- 2 cups Yogurt, organic drained 12 hours in fridge in a coffee filter (If you are using Greek style yogurt you can skip this step, it has already been drained.)
- 1/2 cup Pistachios, shelled roasted, chopped
- 2 whole Orange peeled, seeded and segmented
- 1/4 cup Vinegar white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup Olive oil Good quality
- 6 oz Blue cheese Good quality
- 1 cup Arugula, baby
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss the beets with avocado (or canola) oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Place the tossed beets in a shallow baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until they are tender when poked with a knife tip. *The bigger the beet size, the longer this will take.
- Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into uniformed bite sized pieces. (If you are using red and gold beets put them into separate bowls to keep the colors from bleeding.)
- Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.
- Place the plain yogurt in a paper coffee filter and drain 12 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven at 250 degrees.
- Pour the yogurt into an oven safe pan and cover with foil. Place this pan into a larger pan filled with enough water to come up the sides of the first pan half way. (Glass casserole dishes work best.)
- Bake at 250 degrees for 4 hours or until the yogurt is caramelized. Remove from heat and let the yogurt cool completely.
- In a blender or food processor mix the yogurt to blend the caramelization.
- On a dry but chilled salad dish, spread out a tablespoon of the caramelized yogurt.
- Neatly place the beet mixture on top of the yogurt on the salad plate and serve.